Lebanon Senior Piles on the Points
Lebanon’s Chrissy Drake keeps the puck out of reach of the opposition during Tuesday night’s game against Bishop Guertin. Drake recently reached 100 career points. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon’s Chrissy Drake, center, is one of the Raider team captains and recently joined the school’s 100-point club. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Chrissy Drake pushes between Bishop Guertin players Brianna Bermingham (8) and Brooke Pearson. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
West Lebanon — Not every coach equates facing the Lebanon High girls hockey team with a learning moment, which is why Raiders coach Brad Shaw had something to think about with one early-season encounter last month.
Very much aware of program history, Shaw knew he had an imminent addition to Lebanon’s career 100-point club coming into the campaign with senior Chrissy Drake. On the other hand, Shaw didn’t want his Raiders — who have more than a passing acquaintance with putting goals on the board — running up the score on neophyte opponents.
“One of the games we played, she wasn’t intentionally trying to get the amount of points she got, but the coach from the other team was yelling to us that he wanted his goalie to see shots,” Shaw recalled after the Raiders’ 3-1 win over Bishop Guertin at Campion Rink on Tuesday. “We were actually trying to hit the goalie with some shots, and some of those were going in.
“Chrissy kind of felt bad about that. But she was going to get (her points), no matter what.”
It usually takes an order from Shaw for Drake not to singe the opposing twine.
The senior wing became Lebanon’s sixth career 100-pointer — and its fourth in the last five winters — during an eight-point night in an 11-0 home win over Souhegan on Dec. 18. A career of gradually increasing numbers promises much more.
Drake’s hat trick Tuesday brought he season goal total to 21, matching last year’s tally. Averaging more than two goals and three points per game through Lebanon’s first nine starts, it’s conceivable Drake will leave the Raider program holding records for single-season goals (she’s 12 behind the graduated Kyra Herbert’s 33 with nine regular-season games to play) and career points (where Herbert is 18 ahead of Drake’s 119).
“She’s a goal scorer, and she’s a point scorer,” Shaw said. “When you look at her, her (number of) assists are very similar to her goals. It shows you that she’s very unselfish as well. She’s as happy to set up a goal as to score it herself.”
Drake’s parents, Tina and Fran, emphasized finding an activity that made their three children happy. Whether it was the same activity or not was irrelevant.
Basketball suited Casey, the oldest, to the point of a solid Lebanon High basketball career followed by four years with the women’s hoop program at Maine’s St. Joseph’s College. Middle child Sean gravitated toward golf, hockey and baseball, pursuing all three at Lebanon and the latter at St. Joe’s before moving to the Monks’ golf team last year.
Of her older siblings, soccer-hockey-softball Chrissy more mirrored her brother. Basement hockey games cemented the relationship.
“I have a hockey net in my basement; me and my brother used to go downstairs all the time and just shoot street hockey balls,” Drake recalled. “We’d always hit our dryer and washer and break light bulbs, and my mom would get sooooo mad. We’d set up targets in the corners, go down there and we’d go down there for hours and just shoot. I’m sure that helped a lot.
“It was a way for me and my brother to connect. We both play hockey; at the time, it was our favorite sport, so we connected with that.”
Through her varsity career, Drake has had other high-scoring forwards with whom to connect. Herbert and another former teammate, Haley Dutille, reached 100 points for their careers, and current linemate Amelia Gage is 18 points away from joining them, meaning Drake hasn’t had to carry all of the scoring lead.
“We work a lot on shooting, passing, getting open and stuff,” Drake said. “All the people that have gotten to 100 points have been amazing players. They have natural skill, so that has something to do with it.
“Amelia is a great player. She reads the ice really well, and she knows how to get open and how to find people that are open. That’s key for being a good playmaker.”
Drake tended to take scoring upon herself when she was younger, Shaw pointed out. Her all-around game has improved in recent years, enough so that she doesn’t have to simply be the trigger on passes from Gage or fellow linemate Lauren McEwen to be effective.
“Lebanon always has one or two that you’ve got to keep a close eye on, and Chrissy certainly follows in those steps,” said Hanover coach John Dodds, who will have the task of slowing the Raiders down when the rivals meet at Campion on Saturday night.
“She’s got good hands, she moves well for a big girl and she has a great shot. She sees the ice well, and she finishes. All of those are attributes you want to see your goal scorers have, and she’s a good kid, too.”
“She used to try to do too much on her own, and she was very good at it,” Shaw said, “but now she sees the ice, she sees her teammates, she gives (the puck) to them, separates herself from traffic and gets it back for a clearer shot. Those are the things she works much harder on.”
There are things to be done about the future, too.
Drake won’t be following her siblings to Maine, having committed to attend Nichols College in Massachusetts instead. She may play hockey. She may play softball. But she won’t be doing both.
“I went down and met the hockey coach, and I’ve been emailing the softball coach, so I haven’t quite decided,” she said. “I think I’ll decide later on down the line, but I know I’m not going to want to do two because they’re back-to-back.”
For Drake, it’s never been about doing one thing well. The fun has been in the enjoyment.
“My parents always tell me, ‘Just do what makes you happy,’ ” she said. “Honestly, they don’t even care what sports I play as long as I’m happy.”
Greg Fennell can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3226.